As you walk by the Shibuya roadways, you should see newly installed arches with lush green vines filling its canopies. This Miyashita Park is the new urban center designed by Nikken Sekkei, promoting community welfare with a long roping design that extends and weaves itself across the street. Along a stretch of 330 meters, lies a revitalized park reinterpreted into a modern urban city context.
Miyashita Park is a park in the 6th district of Miyashita-mae in Tokyo, known for its community spirit and the lively atmosphere it has cultured over the years. It was initially a designated park and was redeveloped as a parking lot with a man-made rooftop park. Now, the park has finally found a final form as a sprawling shopping complex with a 10,740 sqm rooftop park.
Architectural practice Nikken Sekkei partnered with Takenaka Corporation to conceptualize and design this center of urban relaxation and activity. With a 4-story shopping center and an 18-story hotel integrated into the design, they further propagated the quality of the Shibuya Ward environment. It concept to celebrate the best of the public and commercial elements to create a perfect and ideal public space, as well as create better utilization of public land in the most concentrated and central areas of Tokyo.
Divided into a North and South block, the design inches into far ends on Meiji Street, each reaching into separate plazas. The park above becomes an integral movement of the pedestrians along this axis. Laterally, a pedestrian bridge and road crossings complement this line to provide alternate connections across the street. Stairways are piled upon each other to take the pedestrian users upwards through floors of retail. Each level compiles all different niches of shopping; from luxury brands, street brands, side streets, cafes, and shared offices. Then they walk out into the open green park, filled with people and a lively and bustling environment, busy with activities. With its long form of crossing multiple blocks, the circulation at the ground level is designed to deliberately lead people through the building, as well as encourage them to go into the rooftop parks.
Integrated parking, pedestrian pathways, and surrounding buildings all feed into the design as the form naturally responds to the built with its sharp and turning silhouette. It also provides many natural entrances and walks into the first-floor retail. Flagship stores line the first-floor perimeter to further captivate passerbys and pedestrians towards the site and create enjoyable experiences.
This design symbolizes the mark of a newer era with more focus on people’s wellness, encouraging consideration of relaxation and activity through actions such as a walkable roof and architecture, as well as the majority focus of the design on bringing the users to the park. Dense development and rapid urbanization have created road-centric pathways and movement through the use of vehicles, both private and public. Such moves towards walking cities or just large areas for strolling and open exercise are quite looked for and are the future of urban development. This fusion of commercial and public has shown the analysis of the surrounding communities done by Nikken Sekkei, and the sensitive nature of the design for its users.
With expansive green canopies overhead, and crossed arches circling the rooftop park, the iconic structure still houses the charm of the original park. Housing skating rinks, bouldering walls, and open play spaces, there is something to keep everyone busy and enjoy the experience. The public can enjoy the weather, the community, and the opportunity to play sports openly in the sun within a park surrounded by the cityscape. The public is further enticed by the accessible park and its flat walking trails, and a barrier-free multipurpose environment.
Similarly, an open interactive environment is designed within the retail zone. With the concept of an open mall, all the shops look outwards and create spaces for interaction between shops and pedestrian paths. Even food and beverage outlets can easily spill over into the open corridors with tables and seating for possible customers. The steel frame acts as a curtain wall with a mesh and clear ambient light falling into the interactive walkways. With pots placed on the extended slabs outside the curtain wall and the climbing plants on the canopy, it becomes an eye-catching lush green wall. This unique strolling experience is a precious element in the busy urban landscape.
An 18-story hotel lies at one end of the site, which presides over the overall walk of the park. Its tall silhouette stands tall along the equally long horizontal stretch of green. Its imposed grid façade is a prominent element against the low- and mid-rise buildings surrounding it. Acting like a marker in space, it adds to the design’s charm and attracts people to the oasis created in the middle of the city, with a prime location. The tower also provides an incredibly unique park experience thanks to this partnership between the public and private sectors.
This design of Miyashita Park is an excellent example of how it is possible to create valuable green ecosystems within urban contexts. It gives busy communities a chance to take a break and rejuvenate. They also grow and understand the value of such spaces amidst dense cities. A relief to the eye as well as the natural body, it enables amelioration of the general quality of life.
Citations | Miyashita Park
- Archdaily. Miyashita Park / Nikken Sekkei [online]. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/971223/miyashita-park-nikken-sekkei
- Nikken Sekkei. Miyashita Park [online]. Available at: https://www.nikken.co.jp/en/projects/urban_design_and_planning/miyashita_park.html
- Barandy, Kat (2021). NIKKEN SEKKEI encloses its miyashita park in an array of green archways in tokyo [online]. Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/nikken-sekkei-miyashita-park-shibuya-tokyo-japan-04-25-2021/
- Wright, Florence (2022). Miyashita Park in Tokyo, Japan by Nikken Sekkei and Takenaka Corporation [online]. Available at: https://www.architectural-review.com/awards/ar-public/miyashita-park-in-tokyo-japan-by-nikken-sekkei-and-takenaka-corporation
- Live Japan (2021). Check out Shibuya’s new Miyashita Park: Full of fun side streets, activities, and hotels! [online]. Available at: https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-shibuya/article-a0004242/